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Archive for the ‘Hazardous Materials’ Category

300 million pounds of dry-cleaning bags end up in U.S. landfills and waterways annually

Posted by Digital Citizen on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Green bag

Green bag from Green Garmento

However, reusable alternatives to these clear used once plastic bags are becoming popular and adapted by people. Green Garmento reports as much as 60% up-take, which is great, but that’s little more than a half-hearted effort by the general public as there is still 40% to convert. This one is a no brainer without excuses other than your own laziness, people!

Globe and Mail (June 16 2009), Green Garmento from the Environmental Impact Calculator

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Posted in Environment, Hazardous Materials, Lifestyle, Plastic, Solid Waste, Statistics, Sustainability, United States | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

There are currently over 18,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 4-inches in size being tracked, with the first satelite fender-bender just occurring to create 500-600 more!

Posted by Digital Citizen on Saturday, February 14, 2009

Space junk debris field around Earth, from Fast Company Magazine

Space junk debris field around Earth, from Fast Company Magazine, courtesy of the US Space Surveillance Network

Space… the final frontier… not for exploration but for polluting.

On Tuesday, at about 1700 GMT (12:00 p.m. EST), two satellites collided by accident in orbit about 500 miles (790 km) over Siberia. The collision was foreseen to be likely, but one that was not avoidable because the culprit was a Russian satellite launched in 1993 weighing a ton, believed to be nonfunctioning and out of control. The other was a half-ton (1235 lbs) Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997.

The immediate space above the Earth has become cluttered enough to allow this sort of thing to happen now, apparently, and it will only become more common in the future. With at least 18,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 4-inches tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network (see photo), all whirling at tens of miles per hour, our immediate space is become a dangerous place to be! Even in the vast expanse that is space, we’ve managed to pollute it so badly it’s becoming a hazard. Where will we go pollute now?

The collision created another 500-600 pieces of debris, by the way. And it should also be noted that not unlike Earth, China is responsible for more than its fair share of pollution. China might not be thought of as a space power yet like the Americans and Russians are and have been over the years, but they’ve got as much junk up there as anybody.

The linked sources below have much more information on space junk, distributions, sources of the junk and so on, if you were interested. There are hopes, I should end with, for systems to help self-remove future space technology as they become dated. The Fast Company link below has some details. It’s a good start to help alleviate this problem before it gets more out of hand. Let’s just hope all the space players think responsibly to do it.

Physorg.com, Reuters, New Scientist, Fast Company

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Posted in Asia, China, Environment, European Union, Hazardous Materials, Solid Waste, Statistics, Transportation, United States, World | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Commentary: Sydney, Australia greens its “world’s largest” New Year’s fireworks show via other means than the fireworks

Posted by envirostats on Monday, December 31, 2007

Good effort, and some is better than none, but missing the point. Where are the stats about the perchlorate and particulate matter generated? Or about increases in both the days after such an event? 

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for reading Envirostats. May your year be full of good health, green joy and prosperity. [Envirostats author] 

sydney-fireworks.jpg

The City of Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display is regarded as the largest and most technologically advanced annual fireworks display on the planet.

* The display draws larger crowds than in New York, London, Paris or Berlin, with more than a million people watching from the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

* Fifteen months of design, planning and preparation for the Bridge Effect.

* Approximately 11,000 shells, 10,000 shooting comets, and a total of 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects will be incorporated into the display.

* 112 firing points on the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself

* More than 60,000 metres of wires and cables are required to interface with the computers to launch the display

* Fourteen 20 foot shipping containers full of pyrotechnic equating to 112,000kg of equipment.

* A pyrotechnic crew of 40.

* The fireworks on the Bridge and barges are fully digitally launched, requiring 12 computers that will shoot a total of 9,200 cues.

* The 9pm show will use four fireworks barges.

* There are seven barges for the midnight show, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

* Fireworks will be seen off eight city rooftops.

* The 2007 Bridge Effect, designed by Brian Thomson and bridge lighting display by Martin Kinnane, is approximately 36m x 36m and weighs more than 40 tonne. It is installed on the bridge in approximately 22 nights over a three month period.

* 9,000m of rope light will be used to construct the effect. It is attached to a panel and truss system which uses over 50,000 cable ties.

* Programming the effect takes a year of planning and five days on-site using over 300 individual circuits.

* More than 4km of power cable is required to power the effect which will use up to 25,000kw of green power from set up to dismantle.

* The fireworks display is designed by Sydney’s Foti International Fireworks. This is the sixth year in a row that the company has been involved in the event. The Fireworks Director for the midnight fireworks is Fortunato Foti and Tino Pangallo for the 9pm Family Fireworks.

The City is doing it’s best to ensure a greener Sydney New Year’s Eve as part of the City’s continuing commitment to a sustainable future by:

  • Using GreenPower, which will save approximately 60 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year;
  • Recovering and recycling 80 per cent of rubbish collected from the event;
  • Using recycled water collected from the City’s rainwater tanks, recycling plants and pits for street cleaning after the event;
  • Distributing personal ashtrays on the night to help reduce littering of cigarette butts;
  • Nominating WWF-Australia as the official Charity of 2007 Sydney New Year’s Eve. Their vision is to save life on Earth and create a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

New Year’s Eve is a time for everyone to think about our future and take action to fight global warming.

On the night, please consider the environment by placing your rubbish in the bins provided or taking it with you and disposing of your cigarette butts in the bin.

Please also leave the car at home and catch public transport, walk or cycle.

City of Sydney, official PDF, Dec 23 2007

Posted in Air, Australia, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Hazardous Materials, Lifestyle, Statistics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Commentary: Mountain Equipment Co-op in Canada halts sales of Nalgene bottles based on bisphenol-A (BPA) concerns… and Sears stops selling products with polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Posted by envirostats on Monday, December 10, 2007

This is late news for those in Canada now but for those in the United States who might not have heard, one of Canada’s more prominent retailers, specializing in outdoor and healthy lifestyles, has stopped selling Nalgene bottles out of concern for bisphenol-A used in the bottles’ polycarbonate coatings. They say they are playing it safe, though, and will look to the Canadian federal government for guidance once the Feds come out with some review comments in May 2008 (originally next Nov), as I had commented before in Commentary 033.

I don’t have the time to share what I know on BPA but I’ll just say I affirmingly applaud MEC’s decision and that I’d be willing to bet that even if the Feds say BPA is safe, MEC will probably say it’s not convincing enough and standby this policy. We’ll see in May 2008.

Minh Tan
Envirostats author

Postscript: Several days after the original post, an article came out about Sears stopping sales of products with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC isn’t nearly as controversial in harm, but it’s nice to see retailers stopping the flow of products that aren’t good for people and/or the environment because getting people to boycott or avoid buying certain products is tough to do!

– MEC BPA story via Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) , Dec 7 2007 

– Sears PVC story via Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Dec 12 2007

Posted in Canada, Environment, Hazardous Materials, Health, Lifestyle, Solid Waste, Statistics, Sustainability, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Of self-identified top “green sins” Britons surveyed admitted to, the top five were: wasting energy at home (30%), using transport when walking is an option (29%), cleaning with non-environmentally friendly products (28%), boiling a kettle full of water when making only one cup (27%) and never recycling (20%).

Posted by envirostats on Saturday, December 8, 2007

A very very interesting survey, with all kinds of other information below, but notice how there was no clear ‘problem’ to solve. Lots of policy implications there. But on the other side of things, it’s particularly nice for me, out of self-interest, to see the cleaning with non-environmentally friendly products being so notable. [Envirostats author]

The report also found that 57% of people felt the need to drive to the shops for heaving shopping, with 39% “unable to rely” on public transport.

Around 60% of Brits claim they are “going green”, the survey found, but many cite cost as a barrier. More than one third (39%) said they were not prepared to pay any extra for green products or services, and 41% said they believed green goods could be made more widely available.

A further 16% said they did not believe green products or services matched the quality and performance of their existing non-green brands.

Driving Forces

The survey also found that Britons want to be greener, but 79% felt the government should do more in terms of making green fuels readily available to all – 78% said there should be tax breaks for greener cars and that environmentally friendly fuels should be taxed at a lower rate.

The majority of respondents (60%) said they were choosing to be greener out of concern for future generations, but 10% said they were motivated by social image and the desire to look good in front of peers. Only 6% said they were going green as a result of government initiatives.

The report also revealed a level of confusion over pollutants and carbon footprints. According to the survey, most people believe industrial energy is the greatest pollutant (53%), followed by flights (16%) and cars (16%).

However, recent research shows that UK domestic air travel accounts for approximately 5.6% of CO2 emissions from the UK and is in fact thought to be more damaging. It is also thought to be the fastest growing of all contributions to global warming.

The report also revealed a lack of knowledge about carbon footprints. Some 15% of respondents wrongly believed that buying fair trade products would make a positive difference, while 5% cited “staying at home” as a way of reducing a person’s carbon footprint.

More than one third (36%) of respondents said they did not know anything about biofuel technology or the technology of hybrid cars (37%), while 85% said they understood the technology and benefits of loft insulation and 64% said the same about solar panels.

Demographics 

In British households, 65% of women that that they were the “eco-warrior” in the household – making the purchasing decisions and encouraging partners and family members to opt for environmentally friendly goods and services – compared with only 48% of men.

The survey found that people aged between 35 and 44 (62%) are leading the “green” charge, but the younger generation are influencing and driving their parents’ purchasing habits. Children in Northern Ireland have the most sway (15%), compared with Wales, where children do not appear to have the same influence.

Looking ahead, 81% of respondents said they had already decided on a green resolution for 2008 – 48% vowed to recycle more, 41% would monitor energy usage, while 36% would switch to low-energy light bulbs.

The figures were collected from a YouGov poll of 2,026 adults between October 26-30 2007. It was carried out on behalf of Saab.

– The Guardian, Nov 30 2007

Posted in Energy, Environment, Hazardous Materials, Homes, Lifestyle, Public Opinion, Solid Waste, Statistics, Sustainability, Transportation, United Kingdom | Tagged: | 1 Comment »